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The French Open’s retractable roof will amplify broadcast profits

The French Open has embarked upon a $341 million construction plan that will ensure it can compete with any broadcast market demand.

Tennis: French Open Nadal vs Mayer
French Open Nadal vs Mayer (Credit, Susan Mullan)

Though the French Open may rank last among its cohort of Grand Slam tournaments in terms of earnings from subscription broadcast hours, the French tournament may pride itself in being the leader in free-to-air broadcast hours (1,504 hours in 2009). Yet, the French Open, like other global sport properties, recognizes it must keeps itself fit as a desirable broadcast event.

Among ongoing renovation strategies slated for completion in 2017, the French Open has embarked upon a $341 million construction plan, which includes the installation of lighting and a retractable roof atop its main stadium. While the stadium roofing may protect players from inclement weather, the larger renovation strategy also strengthens broadcast profitability by endowing the tournament with the versatility to opt for day or night game scheduling.

Such technological renovations ensure that the French Open can compete with any broadcast market demand.

Being able to access primetime slotting is less a matter of local, or in this case, French time. Instead, primetime sport markets are globally determined. We see these same media pressures in World Cup match timing and in Olympic Games competitions. Local events, and especially Grand Slams, increasingly play to global markets.

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